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This Is Not a Test Paperback – June 19, 2012
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From School Library Journal
“This Is Not a Test is both sexy and desolate, and it will blast a hole through your heart, yet somehow start to stitch it back together again” ―Daisy Whitney, author of The Mockingbirds and The Rivals
“Courtney Summers is a ferocious talent in YA fiction. This Is Not a Test brought me to tears, caused me to gasp in shock in public places, and almost put a stop to my heart . . . Summers' voice is raw with emotion, and utterly right for the impending zombie apocalypse.” ―Nova Ren Suma, author of Imaginary Girls
“[Courtney Summers] blends all the perfection and simplicity that defines her writing so well with this added paranormal element for a snappy, exciting story I just couldn't stop reading, and then I got to the very end and realized that it was about so much more than just making it out alive.” ―Julie Cross, author of Tempest
“Intriguing.... It takes some artistic guts to set a portrayal of a suicidal teenager amid attacking zombies, but Summers has a history of risky choices.... Unusual and absorbing.” ―Kirkus
Top Customer Reviews
What happens when the girl who never wanted to keep going ends up being one of the only to survive?
This book just blew me away. The prose was absolutely wonderful, the book well-written, the plot shocking, and the characters are complex, each with their own ups and downs. I'll admit, I was worried that witht he zombies, I wouldn't like it, much less love it. I've never liked zombies so I was a bit nervous to start this book. And yet, I still dove head-first in this awesome book. This has been said so many times (About a gazillion), but zombies were not a major part of This is Not a Test. I repeat, they were not a major part of Thisis Not a Test. Another worry: They were locked in a school? How was Courtney Summers going to write a 300 page story in the same exact setting? I didn't know, I thought it was impossible. But somehow she did it and not only did she accomplish it, she made it into one of my favorite books of 2012!
Let's talk about the creep factor: I was reading This is Not a Test at night, despite many warnings not to, and had reached a part where the zombies come a-knocking. And....my door creaked open. That was the part where I put the book down and turned out the lights. The writing is intense, to say the least. After all, we have 6 teenagers who are desperate to stay alive after everyone and everything they loved have gone up in smoke (figuratively, of course.) No matter how annoying the characters become, you can't help but forgive them for each stupid thing. They just felt so real, so sad, and so...ugh. Tehre are no words for how amazing these characters are, despite their shortcomings.Read more ›
Good zombie YA fiction is hard to come by. This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers is an attempt to rectify that fact. We are introduced to Sloane, the protagonist, who has been beaten repeatedly by her father and is completely emotionally dependent on her sister Lily, who has just run away and has left Sloane behind. Sloane is about to commit suicide when the infection takes hold of the rest of the town, converting everyone into zombies, except a select few teenagers who have holed up in their high school. What follows is a combination of a horror movie and Lord of the Flies. The teens have to make hard decisions and try to stay alive.
There are a lot of wonderful things about this book. The tone is dark and depressing, and it should be. I'm still thinking about what happened in the book. There are strong supporting characters and Summers is not afraid to kill off characters. How the future unfolds is not out of the realm of possibility in a zombie apocalypse. And how things deteriorate inside of the school is also very believable.
I wonder at the decision to make Sloane the protagonist. It's an interesting choice, because during the whole book she is trying to find ways to commit suicide, and yet, she still remains alive even though many other people succumb to the virus. She seems to drift through the book like a ghost. I try to imagine if another character had been the main one-- the idea that there is a suicidal person surviving in an end of world situation is interesting, but one that doesn't maintain interest throughout a whole novel.Read more ›
That being said, I still found the book to be pretty mediocre. As another reviewer notes, it doesn't really add anything to the conversation (whether that conversation is about zombies or teen angst). The author does throw around some interesting ideas about survival and the will to live and what it means to be alive, but again, it's not really anything new (or better).
The lack of zombies in This Is Not a Test, while understandably off-putting to many of its more vocal readers, is not what very nearly made me put it down after less than a chapter.
I love my zombie stories, but I'll also go for a good lock-in style character drama, and if it happens to be set in a high-school-turned-zombie-fortress, so much the better. This is what is promised on the back cover of This Is Not a Test, after all, and that's fine.
Once the book is actually open, however, our heroine, Sloane, is introduced surrounded by a forest of literary red flags. She is sheltering in her bathroom from her one-dimensionally abusive father, looking unsuccessfully for a bottle of sleeping pills, and ineffectually contemplating the arteries of her wrists, which apparently aren't good enough for the job in spite of her wholehearted determination to die.
On the first page of a book fresh off the shelf, the scene feels like it's going to be lazy shorthand for "You must sympathize with this poor, blameless, complex character who has no reason to waste precious pages saying goodbye to her old life before we get down to apocalyptic fun, non-threatening love interest, possibly some more irreproachably serious angst when it suits the plot, and then happy ever after." This turns out not to be the case.
Sloane is not an insulting portrayal of a suicidal abuse victim (at least not as far as this product of a loving home can tell). Instead, she's an un-insulting portrayal of a suicidal abuse victim, which, while objectively better, isn't much easier to spend three hundred thirty-six pages with.
Her past trauma and lost will to live realistically dominate her character for the duration of the story.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I thought it was pretty boring in the beginning but at the end, I was balling my eyes out! I love the cover!Published 27 days ago by Amazon Customer
I read this book practically in one sitting and became one of my favorites. From the first sentence, this book grabs you and surrounds you with the apocalyptic world where our... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Esther
Courtney Summers is the only person who can make me give a damn about a zombie novel.Published 2 months ago by HP
If you love all things zombies and The Walking Dead , this book is for you. The character development is impressive.Published 2 months ago by Deanna Betsill
his is Not a Test centers around the main character of Sloane; it's the end of the world and she has ended up with five other students in Cortege High School. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Smairee
I really enjoyed this story. I didn't think I was going to, but I found it compelling. I don't get the teenage, suicidal angst thing. Not even when I was a teen. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mad Jenny Vane
Different, beautiful, sad, suspenseful intelligent. Great dialogue, build up, conclusion. Well thought out story & character development. The writing is beautiful. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
This was a required book for one of my college courses. It was okay. Not my favorite.Published 4 months ago by cindy s. baggett
I’ve said it before and I will say it again, Courtney Summers is an absolute goddess and the complete queen of my bookshelf. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Samantha Reed